Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Surrender to Your Inner “Cowboy” #BlogVenture

San Francisco, Here I Come!

“Adventure is out there, it’s heading our way So grab your scarf and goggles, let’s fly! I’ve mapped out our journey, we’re up here to stay. A sunset is our home. A moonbeam we will own. My Spirit of Adventure is you!”~Michael Giacchino

I was excited about my road trip to San Francisco for lots of reasons. I have had ‘Visit SF’ on my bucket list for a long time. I thought it would be with my hubby or even a trip with our kids – but I was thrilled to be going on a road trip with fellow blogger, Mary Lansing of Along Comes Mary!

The reason for this trip was a quest to meet and interview another blogger, Evan Sanders of The Better Man Project. He had just launched his book by the same title and invited many of his followers to a launch party in Palo Alto, CA over the weekend. It happened to be a free weekend for me and I thought I could take my son up and look at colleges along the way. As I began planning the little trip, I crowd-sourced the idea on my So Cal Lady Bloggers Facebook Group to see if anyone knew of a B&B or hotel that was blogger friendly, thinking I might get a good deal. I also contacted a relative that recently moved to a suburb of San Francisco and has offered me the use of her guest room. As I casted out my net, I snagged a few interested blogger buddies and a road trip/meet up was born!Blog Venture

The Spirit of Adventure

The spirit of adventure takes over in me when I think about travelling. I love exploring and letting vacations unfold. I like to have a light structure and be open to all the possibilities. I love meeting up with and visiting with friends and family along the way. When Mary and I set out, we talked and talked the whole way. We really got to know each other. One thing we have in common is that we take after our fathers. Our dads have always had the type of personality with which they made friends with everyone easily and always ran into people they knew everywhere they went. It was uncanny to my family that this happened to my dad on so many occasions. The same is true of Mary’s dad. It doesn’t seem like a big deal now when we are able to keep in touch with distant relatives and old friends on Facebook and with email, but long before that became an option – our dad’s had that friendly comaraderie with people all over the world. They left lasting impressions and their friendly and easy-going demeanor was always approachable. We both want to continue the tradition. We enjoy making friends along the way on our journey through life. Having the spirit of adventure and openness to possibilities running through our veins is one thing that made our spontaneous trip to San Francisco so much fun! This got me thinking. . . one of my core beliefs is based on being open to the possibilities that can be life changing—and believing that these possibilities may bring a greater sense of joy and fulfillment to my life.

So Cal in the Rear View

Cowboy-up

In Evan Sanders’ book, The Better Man Project, he mentions how he thinks he should have been born in the “cowboy era” when things were much simpler. He says, back then you could . . . “Jump on your horse and go. Didn’t matter where, you could just go for miles. If you needed to get away, there was always a new frontier waiting to be discovered. But most importantly, you could be at peace.”

“The cowboy symbolizes the free life, closely tied to the out-of-doors and nature. The impact of land, the grass, the rivers and streams and gushing springs, the color of the sky and the clouds, the climate and the weather, these things are characteristic of the real and the mythical cowboy cultures.” ~David Dary, Cowboy Culture

I had this “cowboy” feeling going on around the time that I heard about Evan’s party in Palo Alto. I felt the urge to go on an adventure and I wanted to get away. I felt a need to let go a little. Too much routine was getting to me. I actually went to Google maps and entered Palo Alto, CA. Where was it? How far a drive was it? What was it near? I checked my bank balance. Could I swing it? I had just told my hubby that we shouldn’t spend too much on Valentine’s Day and I knew a hotel or airfare was out of the question. But sharing the cost of gas and only having my own expenses to worry about was doable. The call of the road was beckoning me!Rainbow

Sometimes when I get this feeling, I will take a long drive by myself. I like to take the top down on the Jeep and drive up the coast. I will find a place to park and go for walks on the beach. Have a picnic. Shop. Explore. Alone. I like to get some solace now and then. Be introspective. Recharge. Listen to my heart. Let go. Surrender to the wind.

Bonding and Forming Lasting Relationships

This time, I felt like connecting with others and forging new relationships. I really felt a call to venture out to connect and reconnect with friends. I had the urge to spend a weekend networking and expanding my community. I was in the mood for “girl-time” and boy did I get it! I lost my voice from talking for three days straight and I enjoyed every minute!

I wanted to surrender and get away from the every day. I wanted to make the most of my time and have fun, too. I made my mission for the trip to use the time getting to know people and letting them get to know me. I opened myself up a bit. I actually enjoyed being me and I made the most of it. This was a chance for me to be the “pure me” – not the mom, or the wife, or the planner, or even the blogger. Just me and my rental car, my iPhone and my debit card! It was a blast!

I want to thank my husband and sons for being so very supportive of my ideas and my spirit of adventure. I know they all like to travel and would have loved to take a trip to San Francisco. They were very understanding of my reasons for my need to get away without them. We are a very close family but we respect the need to do things on our own at times. That goes for the mother, too! I am blessed!

Have a Hap-pea Day

It was a big risk! I went on this trip with someone I had only met a few times and barely knew. Since she is a blogger, I checked her out by looking at her online presence. I knew very little about Mary and she knew very little about me. There turned out to be a big age difference, but when we tried to guess each other’s age, the gap seemed much closer. This was a good thing. We found that we have much in common and we got along famously. We connected on many levels, but the most important factors we found to have in common is our love for blogging, our love of travel, and our love of 80’s music! By the time we arrived in San Francisco, we had eaten lunch at Pea Soup Anderson’s in Buelton, gone wine tasting in Solvang, searched for garlic ice cream in Gilroy, and become great friends!

Miz Meliz in BeulltonWine Tastes

The San Francisco Treat

We stayed at a wonderful new Bed & Breakfast in South San Francisco. Just kidding! We stayed with a family friend of mine (my husband’s cousin) and her husband and their two young sons. Their hospitality matched that of the best B&B’s around and we were particularly impressed with the wait staff. The cute little boys not only carried our bags, provided turn down service, brought us coffee and snacks, but also snuggled in bed with us! It was a heart-warming experience. There was a lot of trust, a – lot – of – trust with bringing a stranger along with me to stay in the home of a family friend!! That was the biggest risk of all. I thank my lucky stars that it turned out as great as it did! (I did have a back-up plan. It would have been costly, but if Mary and I didn’t “click” I planned on checking in to a hotel.) But, luckily, she fit right in and has become an extended member of the family. Our gracious hosts made their guest rooms comfortable and our stay was an A+ experience thanks to them!Our Hosts

Over the weekend Mary and I spent a significant amount of time connecting with friends, making new friends and interviewing bloggers. We also did some sightseeing. We went to breakfast at the Squat & Gobble in the Castro District and the food was amazing! We spent the afternoon taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and driving around the city. We went to the Walt Disney Family Museum at the famous Presidio and we saw the Snow White Exhibit. Our friendship grew during this day as we shared these experiences together. Mary and I took lots of pictures and we were fortunate to be in one of the most famous cities in the world on a gorgeous sunny winter day. A few times along the way Mary asked me, “What do you want to do right now?” Which I kindly responded, “I’m doing it!” Truthfully, it didn’t matter exactly where we went to eat or what site we saw next – I was on a trip having a great time, making a friend and being one. That is all I wanted to do and I was so happy I got to do it!

Golden Gate Sightseeing Snow White and the Seven Oscars The Presidio

Palo Alto Party

Our host, Maryann, joined us as we headed to Palo Alto that evening to meet with two other blogger friends for dinner. Five ladies in a small booth at the well known old-time diner, the Peninsula Creamery was quite a sight to be seen! After dinner, we walked over to the Coupa Cafe for coffee. We talked and enjoyed getting to know each other even better over coffee. It was here that we experienced the “girl power” of a weekend get away! Blogger, Susan Cooper of Finding Our Way Now came to town on her own ‘girl’s weekend” with her long-time friend, Deborah. The two drove from Sacramento to attend the launch party.

Mocha from Coupa Cafe The Five Ladies The So Cal Lady Bloggers

Susan says that she is an adventurous soul. I was glad to get the opportunity to spend time with her. She brought her camera and tripod. She took lots of pictures and was quite interested in meeting Evan and joining in the fun. She made the trip seem like no big deal. It felt like it was what we should be doing. Both Mary and I have felt a connection with Susan via our blogs. It was nice to spend time together. We didn’t have to do much discovery about each other. We just “fell in line” in a conversation that seems to be forever ongoing!

“I find great excitement when taking a new path in a new direction, often offering new lessons to learn and share. I have learned that life’s lessons are just that… lessons that we must learn from, appreciate and share and most of all, remember to have fun along the way.” ~Susan Cooper

After coffee, we went across the street to the bar where Evan’s big party was taking place. We were on a quest to meet the writer and get an interview about how he went from blogger to published author. It was fun being at a party for someone having never met the guest of honor (except for via social media!) It was a fantastic party and a great venue. There was a big turnout for Evan’s celebration and we met some of his biggest fans, followers and even his family. Evan gave us a lot of attention and honored us for coming so far to meet him. The next morning, he gave Mary and I even more time to ask questions when he met us for breakfast to complete the interview. See my post Meet Evan Sanders.

Big Margarita Deborah Entranced Inspired Ivy Mary Listening Evan Sanders and Melissa Reyes

The Last Day

Sunday morning was spent hanging out in the kitchen of our host family and making plans for the day. It was a bitter-sweet farewell as we were just getting comfortable with our new found friendship with Maryann and Alec and their wonderful sons and we really liked being in San Francisco. I wished we didn’t have to leave so soon. One or two more days would have been terrific!

From the breakfast interview with Evan, we went on a side trip to Silicon Valley to meet with another blogger buddy. Our dear friend, Maribel of Stroller Adventures would have loved to attend all the activities in Palo Alto and San Francisco but she couldn’t coordinate it with her two small children in tow. I suggested that Mary and I meet her some place where the kids could have some fun while we have a chance to hang out together. The important part was to make a connection and spend time together. All the blogging and social media connections that we do could never measure up to a face to face meeting. Warm hugs, smiles and face time! Now Maribel’s kids call me “Auntie Melissa!” That is golden to me! It was worth the effort and all it cost was some time.

The InterviewOutside Peninsula CreameryMelis Maribel Mary

On the drive back to Los Angeles, Mary and I had ideas to stop at more places and have even more adventures! We would have loved to take a pit stop at the campy restrooms at The Madonna Inn that we have heard about or go wine tasting at the beautiful winery at Bella Luna in Paso Robles. We talked about sharing a sunset in Ventura with my good friend, Joy of Facets of Joy. We talked about other friends of ours that live in the Bay Area and how we could definitely take another trip together some day to visit them. We did stop for dinner at Woodstock Pizza in San Luis Obispo. It was the last leg of the trip. Mary had heard they had great gluten free pizza and they did! By this time I was tired and starting to show my age. (No, I can’t keep up with Mary!) Luckily she had the energy to drive the rest of the way home. I was sad that our little adventure was coming to an end. But somehow, it seemed like a beginning. Yes, it’s a new beginning! We will have more adventures together. We will call them our. . . Blog Ventures!

Woodstock Pizza

Surrendering

You don’t have to take a road trip to enjoy the feeling of getting away. You can make changes in your life by accepting it the way it is. Surrendering does not mean giving up… it is about acceptance. When you accept your life the way it is, you can free yourself.

“When you feel like you’re fighting your life instead of living it … clinging to the past … afraid of the future … not feeling what is in your heart … to put it simply, you feel stuck. When you can’t steer your life where you want it to go, don’t give up — learn to surrender.” ~Gary Zukav

Gary Zukav believes that surrendering is one of the most difficult things that you can accomplish in your lifetime. Surrendering is about accepting your life just as it is, without any resistance. When you resist your life, you resist what you can learn from it, and what you can gain from it. Open yourself to new experiences, open yourself to loving yourself in all experiences. Just the way you are.

Don’t Give Up

Surrendering is not what most people think. It doesn’t mean giving up — it means acceptance. When you accept your emotions and experiences, you begin to create a more powerful life for yourself. Surrendering doesn’t mean letting go of your responsibility. You must do your part — only you have the power to change the direction of your life.

Evan Sanders believes in never quitting. Evan says in his book, that standing for never quitting is a very measurable aspect of his life. He knows when he is quitting something. Not following through on commitments. Giving up. Giving in. He says he wants perseverance to be at the heart of his character. Love. Passion. Never quit.

I am so glad I took the time to get away on this Blog Venture! It was time to refresh, renew, surrender and open myself up to new things while accepting myself and what I am capable of doing. I hope it inspires you to be spontaneous and to enjoy the things that make you tick.

 

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/When-Life-Seems-Unfair/4#ixzz2DXxIX79l

The best things about you are there all the time!

Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

A Fun Spontaneous Road Trip #BlogVenture

I had such a wonderful adventure over the weekend!! I shared it with my So Cal Lady Blogger friend, Mary, from Along Comes Mary. She just posted this fantastic and detailed overview of our experience! I asked Mary if it was okay to invite you over to her blog to check it out. So, c’mon now! Don’t be shy! All you have to do is click on the link and you will get the skinny on our super fun trip to San Francisco! Enjoy! Please let me know what you think!

Along Comes Mary....

Step it upSF2
Grab your phone
Get your suitcase
There is no time to waste
A big adventure awaits
(Tori Amos, 500 Miles)

Did you miss me?! I have been AWOL for afew days. It was not planned, but what happens when one of your friends from SoCal Lady Bloggers, Melissa of Miz Meliz, is searching for a partner in crime to drive up the coast with in order to attend the book launch party for Evan of Better Man Project? Well, if you’re me, & in need of a getaway, you say YES. We left last Friday & returned Sunday, but within that time frame, we: Got pea soup, wine tasted in Solvang, searched for garlic ice cream, got amazing food in the Castro district, saw Golden Gate Bridge, Went to The Walt Disney Family Museum, The Snow White Exhibit, met up with Susan Cooper from Finding…

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30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Everything Miz Meliz

The #1 Thing That I Am Excited About Today

Three Things That I Am Excited About: Day 5 #NHBPM

Lucky for me, my heart speaks up now and then to remind me that I am not a complete slacker. I believe that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I have lots of great news and many accomplishments to be proud of. During the past year that I have been maintaining my Diabetes, I have not had any serious episodes and I always take my meds. However, I am excited about the fact that I have successfully weaned myself off of my anti-depression and anxiety medicine and now manage that holistically. I have completed an online course and received my certificate for life coaching. I have attended a blogging conference and have maintained my blog while increasing my readership and have been published on a national online magazine.

Managing Depression Holistically

I am a strong proponent of prescribed medication because it has saved my life and my sanity many times. I have a chemical imbalance that causes me to worry needlessly. The chain reaction that results from that worry leads to stress induced insomnia, migraine headaches, digestive problems, cysts, depression, and the worst thing ever, anxiety attacks. All of which results in a myriad of other serious problems and issues, including but not limited to missing work and problems within my relationships. After dealing with all of these issues separately for many years, I finally found the golden combination of counseling, medical advice and prescription medication that worked for me.

A healthy balance is key. Knowing how far I can tip to the sides without falling down is vital. Getting help before I fall is imperative. Knowing myself and anticipating when things might get too difficult for me has been what has made it possible for me to manage the diagnoses of depression and anxiety. It is a disease. It can be managed. For me, it is triggered by outside influences. Right now, everything is going well in my life, with my family, my job, everything. So, I am not in counseling. I am not taking medication. I am able to maintain balance with relaxation techniques, mantras, and writing. I know that if something (when something) happens that is beyond my control and capabilities, I can and will return to the resources I have for help. My doctors are there for me. In the meantime, I love the feeling of freedom from the meds.

http://mizmeliz.com "Straight Path" on Miz Meliz' Journey, photo by Melissa Reyes copyright 2012
It’s nice to see my destination ahead, with a straight path leading right to it!

I like being on my own. I still have mood swings, episodes of mild depression, anxiety, and headaches. I try to recognize the cycles and the symptoms as they come. I try to accept them and not let it get to me. That is all part of my holistic approach.

Life Coaching

Becoming a life coach is a huge accomplishment for me. Having reached a healthy balance in my own life has helped me to see how important that is to experience happiness. I have always wanted to be able to help others. All my life people have been able to open up to me and I am grateful for the ability that I have to listen and encourage them. I have been challenged a few times. I have been asked, what gives me the authority to coach or counsel others. I did not have an answer for that. My catechetical and leadership training had been enough when I was ministering at my church and in faith circles. Yet, I longed to be able to help all people in a non-denominational setting.

I have always challenged myself and felt that there was something I could do professionally with my talents. I just wasn’t sure what exactly or where I would take it.  I found the answers with becoming a certified professional life coach. I am now educated in the techniques and methodologies taught by Fowler Wainwright Institute of Professional Coaching. For now, since I am gainfully employed, I plan to practice coaching on the side to help people, to enhance my writing, to lead workshops and retreats, and to build a practice that I can fall back on when I eventually retire. Having a solid plan is like taking a breath of fresh air! It feels amazing and propels me forward, and that is the best direction!

Blogging

This week I am celebrating my one year anniversary of blogging. I have had my blog on WordPress since 2007 and have been posting articles (136 of them to date) on it consistently for about one year. That makes this my first “blogiversary!” I am very proud of all of the writing I have done, but mostly I am happiest about the unforgettable people I have encountered on this journey. They have changed my life for the better with their encouragement and love. In my 100th post article, I highlighted each turn of my journey and linked to many of the people who, like lampposts, have lighted my way along my path.

In celebration of my blogiversary, I would like to share the links to a few of my favorite blogs. Join me in the celebration and take a look at what these phenomenal women are writing about:

A Journey to Healthy

Toddler Trails

This Talk Ain’t Cheap

Minnesota Girl in L.A.

Stroller Adventures

Organized Island

Let’s Play OC

Mommy Powers

Mothership Scrapbook Gal

Sunny Vegan

The Wineabe

Horsing Around in L.A.

Chronicles of a Foodie

Everything Miz Meliz

There is Significance in Everything

Quote “It started out as a Mardi Gras party!”

Partygras! 2008 Melissa’s 40th ‘Academy Awards’ Birthday Party

You might as well know how it all started, in case you weren’t there.  Many of you were there – but maybe I never told you why Lito and I had the first “PartyGras.”  There is significance in everything.

After I had my third child, I suffered from severe postpartum depression.  And unlike Brooke Shields – I didn’t have friends like Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey to tell me how to live my life.  But I did  have a great supportive family and amazing friends who gave me sound advice.  I was bored at home having not worked at a “real” job for six years.  I was doing the mommy and me thing for the third time around and I felt stuck.  Of course most of my feelings had more to do with the postpartum than reality – but it is extremely difficult to separate the two at the time.

I needed an outlet, something to look forward to, something creative and fun.  Lito and I had attended an event at Julian’s school that had a Mardi Gras theme some time back and we loved it.  We talked about having a theme party or going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans ourselves someday.  We recalled being at Disneyland when they had a New Orleans style parade and they called it “PartyGras!”  We love anything and everything Disney!

So, the goal became having a theme party.  Something we can repeat for years that would become our “signature” event.  We tried for many years to gather our friends together by having Christmas or New Year’s parties and open houses.   But people always had other obligations.  We wanted something that our friends would look forward to every year.  It was something that I looked forward to every year!  I loved thinking about it, planning it and attending it.  It wasn’t a kid’s party or a birthday party, or tied to any religious milestone.  It was a party just for fun, that anyone could enjoy.  Well, almost anyone!  PartyGras is for adults only!

Why only adults?  Well, that was a no brainer at first!  I was surrounded by little kids and babies and everything I did at that point in my life had to do with children and/or other parents.  Mommy & Me, tumbling class, Karate class, Indian Guides, preschool, kindergarten, Barney, Blues Clues, diapers, feedings, snack time, nap time . . . And I had been focussed on this stuff (and loving it most of the time) for six years!  I needed and wanted to go out and have fun – adult fun, dressing up, having a cocktail in a glass, listening to loud music, singing, dancing, hanging out with friends, staying up late – very late, and letting loose!  One liberating thing was being able to say anything without being guarded.  In other words – I didn’t have to spell out things I didn’t want my kids to hear me say and I could use some “colorful” expletives, if I wanted!

“If the mountain cannot come to Mohammad, Mohammad will go to the mountain.”  Or in this case, vice-versa!  If I can’t go clubbing – I will bring the club to my house!  Luckily, with a little pleading, Lito agreed!  And so it happened.  It was a blast!  PartyGras!  The first one was a Mardi Gras theme.  Everyone came dressed in their best Mardi Gras costumes, there was a prize for the most creative.  It was a potluck – a Cajun Cooking Contest – with a prize for Lito’s favorites.  We knew he would try everything!  We had beads for the flashers, lots of drinks and karaoke.  That was the entertainment.  It was a blast!

I already planned on having one every year and the name of the annual event would always include “PartyGras” (pronounced pardy-graw.)  We crowned the couple who put their best foot forward with enthusiasm and zeal as “The King & Queen of  PartyGras!”  We started in 2001 which made it easy – something not planned – to remember the number of years we have been doing this!

1.  Partygras! Cajun Cookoff

2.  Partygras ’02: Flamenco/Spanish

3.  Partygras III:  I dream of Jeanie Pajama Party/60’s Convenience Foods

4. Partygras IV:  Club 10532 70’s Party/Fondue

5. PartyArgh V:  Pyrate Party/Potluck

6.  Partygras VI:  Vamp Night/Potluck

7.  Partygras ’07:  The Godfather/Italian

8.  Partygras! 2008:  Academy Awards/Hor d’oerves

And the winner is . . . everyone!  I hope you enjoyed it.  It was by far the best one ever.  I’ll remember always your acceptance speech, as you were given the Academy Award for what you are best at – friendship!  Everyone had their 45 seconds of fame!

I would like to thank you, my friends, for making these memories the highlights of my life!  No amount of medication, exercise, and counseling could bring me out of depression without your support and love!!!

Shannon and Sean The 1st King & Queen of PartyGras
Ole'
The Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!
Lito Tuxedo!
Arrrgh!
Vamp Fright!
Ahh, my godson has arrived!
Kelly gets snapped by the Papparazi
Maggie & David on the Red Carpet
Mark Burford as "Oscar"
Jonathan & J-Lo with . . . Fabio!
Karen Marie - What a DIVA!
And the Oscar goes to . . .